30 Minute Workout Plan

Tamsen Butler
Work out 30 Minutes a Day

A 30 minute workout can give you the physical activity necessary to get - or stay - fit. The level of intensity is the key as not all exercise minutes are equal. Choose a workout that challenges you but you also enjoy and you'll be more likely to stick with it.

Beginner's 30 Minute Workout

This beginning workout can be done at home without any gym equipment and is a good way to introduce a novice to working out. As with any beginner's workout, first consult with a physician to ensure your readiness for physical exertion.

  1. Warm up for 3-4 minutes to help avoid injury.
  2. Do 30 seconds of small arm circles, followed by 30 seconds of bigger arm circles.
  3. Do chair squats for one minute.
  4. Do a standing push-up against a sturdy wall for one minute.
  5. Walk in place, pumping your arms vigorously, for one minute.
  6. Do calf raises for one minute.
  7. Either standing or sitting down, do alternating knee raises for one minute.
  8. Do alternating side steps for one minute.
  9. Shadow box for one minute.
  10. Stand on one foot (holding onto the wall or chair if needed) for one minute.
  11. Stand on the other foot for one minute.
  12. Standing or sitting, reach your elbow to your opposite knee (alternating) for one minute.
  13. Start again at #2 above.
  14. Cool down and stretch for 3-4 minutes.

HIIT Training 30 Minute Workout

High intensity interval training (HIIT) involves bringing the heart rate up, followed by an active recovery period where the heart rate goes down, and the repeated. This effective form of training is particularly beneficial to cardiovascular health and can burn a larger number of calories in 30 minutes than a typical steady-state cardio workout like walking. In the following workout, if two minute intervals prove too difficult, cut it in half and go through the entire workout twice.

  1. Warm up for 3-4 minutes to help avoid injury.
  2. Perform two minutes of jumping jacks, followed by one minute of walking or light jogging in place.
  3. Perform two minutes of skaters, followed by one minute of walking or light jogging in place.
  4. Perform two minutes of alternating lunges, followed by one minute of walking or light jogging in place.
  5. Perform two minutes of squats, followed by one minute of walking or jogging in place.
  6. Perform two minutes of push-ups, following by one minute of resting in child's pose.
  7. Perform two minutes of alternating side planks, followed by one minute of child's pose.
  8. Perform two minutes of mountain climbers, followed by one minute of child's pose.
  9. Perform two minutes of crunches.
  10. Cool down and stretch for 3-4 minutes.
Woman exercising on mat

30 Minute Tabata Workout

Tabata torches calories and goes by quickly - but only if you go "all out" during the work phase of the workout. The format for tabata is 20 seconds of maximum effort followed by ten seconds of rest - eight times total, which results in four minutes. While a proper tabata workout has eight rounds, which takes 32 minutes total, you will still derive great benefits from following a condensed tabata protocol.

  1. Warm up for 3.
  2. Perform 20 seconds of an exercise at maximum effort.
  3. Rest for 10 seconds.
  4. Repeat #2 followed by #3 seven more times, for a total of eight.
  5. Repeat the above sequence with a different exercise, for a total of six times (24 minutes).
  6. Cool down and stretch for 3 minutes.

Ideas for Tabata Exercises

Exercises done in a tabata workout should be high intensity and prove challenging. Here are some ideas to get you started; while you can mix these up, note that each four minute round should only involve one exercise (eight times), so for the above workout you'll need to choose six exercises. Also note that you don't have to limit your options to those listed below.

  • Jumping jacks
  • Burpees
  • Push-Ups
  • Plank jacks
  • Kettlebell swings
  • High knees
  • Tuck jumps
  • Mountain climbers
  • Jump rope
  • Battle ropes
  • Box jumps
  • Pull ups
  • Sprints
  • Squat jumps
  • Fast feet
friends using dumbbells while exercising

30 Minute Strength Workout

Use hand weights and bodyweight for this strength-building workout. Go as heavy with the weights as you can while still maintaining full movement and proper form. The number of reps you get in the allotted time isn't important as long as you feel as if you're exerting yourself. Take breaks as needed by performing the moves without weights in hand until you catch your breath.

  1. Warm up for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Perform squat-curl-press for one minute.
  3. Perform upright rows for one minute.
  4. Perform tricep kickbacks for one minute.
  5. Hold a plank for one minute.
  6. Perform alternating lunges with hammer curls for one minute (or do 30 seconds on one leg and 30 seconds on the other leg).
  7. Take one or two minutes to sip water and shake out your limbs if you need a break.
  8. Perform sumo (wide) squats for one minute.
  9. Perform frontal raises for one minute.
  10. Perform tricep extensions for one minute.
  11. Perform abdominal crunches for one minute.
  12. Perform alternating curtsy lunges while holding the hand weights at chest height.
  13. Repeat this sequence starting at #2 above.
  14. Cool down and stretch for 3-4 minutes.

Strength Workouts at Gyms

Many popular gym chains like Crunch, Planet Fitness, and Curves offer 30 minute circuits in which you follow a prescribed pattern of movements or machines for thirty minutes total. These typically offer a full-body workout and make it easy to follow the sequence of exercises for a self-guided workout. If you like working out at a gym and want a quick workout, this may be a good option for you.

How Often Should You Exercise?

Aim to do a 30 minute workout three days a week for maintenance and five days a week for increased fitness or weight loss (when combines with a calorie deficit). It's important to understand that no amount of minutes - 30 or otherwise - will spot reduce. For this reason, consider "30 minutes to a flatter stomach" or "30 minutes to bigger glutes" programs to be complementary to your regular workout routine instead of relying on them to firm up a specific area of your body.

30 Minute Workout Plan